Written by:Callum Taylor

Published: November 30, 2020

The complex nature of

design simplicity


Nothing worth doing is straightforward

Solving complex problems well means that the end design should work beautifully and seem incredibly simple – even deceptively so. For example, one of our most simple designs might look like a hot chocolate shaker for The Chocolate Society, an independent family-run business here in the UK that has recently been voted the best Chocolate Subscription Box by The Independent Newspaper. Realise has been selected among the Top 20 Design Agencies by Designrush.

Owner Alasdair knew that the highest quality hot chocolate is achieved by shaking, not just stirring. And who doesn’t love a barista-quality hot chocolate at home, especially during the colder months? If you’ve ever put hot liquid into a sealed container and shaken it, you will have found yourself a hot mess because the increase in pressure will spray the contents all over you when the lid is removed.

Simplicity is a competitive advantage.

With our design solution, the lid of the container expands during shaking. That’s it – simple. But it hasn’t been done before and involved numerous design routes that tested expansion rates, heat transfer, seal performance, pouring experience and thermal resistance before we got to a beautifully simple and cost-effective result worthy of the fantastic reviews it has since received from delighted customers.

And the icing on the cake – or perhaps the cocoa dusting on the hot chocolate – is that it is very favourably compared to the bulkier, big-brand electronic hot chocolate makers that can cost four times the price and become difficult to clean. So, even if we say so ourselves, these shakers are ready to make the perfect seasonal gift for those who like to keep life simple.

How to overcome complexity in the quest for simplicity?

Consider the context and the purpose…

Simplicity has always had a very strong relationship with complexity. As a team that invests full immersion levels of interest in the products we design, we relish the complexity of deeply exploring what we’re up against. However, achieving simplicity is about knowing and meeting the expectations of our clients and end-users.

Underlying our deep technical thinking are some simple questions:

  1. Why are we doing this at all?
  2. How is this going to work in practice?
  3. What is the value being delivered?

When we start with this process of enquiry, it keeps us focused on solving the real problems rather than getting drawn into the unnecessary complexity of aimless addition or design-by-committee tinkering. It’s the art of managing complexity by removing the meaning and adding the meaning.

Let’s get started

+44 (0)117 325 9100 | info@realisedesign.co.uk


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